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Presented by State Library Victoria

Books for Refugee Week

Refugee week is June 17th – 23rd and the theme to 2018 Refugee Week is #WithRefugees There are events around the country to raise awareness of the plight of asylum seekers and refugees and to celebrate the contribution refugees have had in our communities.

So I thought a little listicle that promotes understanding and empathy for refugees would be a way we can be a part of Refugee Week. Below are books encompassing the refugee experience, in Australia and internationally, in the past and now.

Cover of the bone sparrow

Of course I have to start with Zana Fraillon’s 2017 Gold Inky Shortlisted The Bone Sparrow.  Subhi’s imagination is as big as the ocean and wide as the sky, but his world is much smaller: he’s spent his whole life in an immigration detention centre.

Cover of Between Us

Between Us  by Clare Atkins   Anahita is passionate, curious and determined. She is also an Iranian asylum seeker who is only allowed out of detention to attend school. On weekdays, during school hours, she can be a ‘regular Australian girl’.  Jono needs the distraction of an infatuation. In the past year his mum has walked out, he’s been dumped and his sister has moved away.  Is it possible for two very different teenagers to fall in love despite high barbed-wire fences and a political wilderness between them?

Cover of Hana's Suitcase

Hana’ s Suitcase by  Karen Levine  An international bestseller and remarkable true story.  When Hana’s suitcase arrives from Germany at the small Holocaust education centre in Japan, all the children who visit want to know about Hana. When Fumiko Ishioka, the centre’s curator, decides to find the answers, she embarks on a journey of discovery across Europe and North America, and seventy years of history.

Cover of The Weight of Water

 The Weight of Water  by Sarah Crossan  A coming of age story that tackles the alienation and isolation many immigrants experience by incredibly sensitive and poetic UK author Sarah Crossan

Cover of The Sun is Also a Star

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon was also on the Inky Awards shortlist last year. It tells the story of Natasha who meets Daniel on a crowded New York Street and falls in love – except that Natasha is from a Jamaican family in America who are hours away from deportation. This will soon be a movie too!

Cover of The Arrival

The Arrival  by Shaun Tan  The internationally bestselling, iconic and multi-award-winning 128-page wordless novel about life in a new land.

Cover of when Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit


When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit  by Judith Kerr

This semi-autobiographical and unforgettable story, of a Jewish family fleeing from Germany before the start of the Second World War

Cover of When Michael Met Mina

When Michael Met Mina by Randa Abdel-Fattah

Another Gold Inky Longlisted book!

When Michael meets Mina, they are at a rally for refugees – standing on opposite sides. Mina is a refugee from Afghanistan and Michael’s parents are the founders of a political party called Aussie Values that wants to stop immigration. A novel for anyone who wants to fight for love, and against injustice.

Cover of Salt to the Sea

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys another Inky Awards Shortlisted book.  Four teenagers lives entwine when they escape war torn Europe in 1945.

1 comment


When Michael Met Mina is great. All of Randa Abdel-Fattah's books accurately portray Muslims(to my opinion). I found myself relating to her characters, Muslim or not.

25th Jun, 18